Sunday, November 3, 2013

Websites That Work - 7 Key Factors (Part 1)

By Karen Cioffi

Whether you’re an author or a freelance writer, marketing is going to be an essential part of your process. And, marketing in an over-saturated market can be a very difficult journey. Whether you’re promoting a book, services, or other product, you will have tons of competition. And, if you don’t have a website, you won’t be able to get in the marketing game.

No matter what product or service you’re offering, having a website is an absolutely must.

While it’s not that difficult to create a website or blogsite using services, such as WordPress ( or Blogger (, there are essential steps you will need to take in order to create an EFFECTIVE site.

Here is a list of 7 of the most essential and bare-bottom basics that are needed for an effective website (the first three are in this post):

1. The Name of Your Site

Create a site with your name as the domain name. Even if you already have one or more sites with different names, take the time to create one with your name. This can be your central site that leads to your other specific platforms. Think of it as the Sun to your other orbiting web planets.

If you have multiple sites, include them on your Media Page and on your About You page.

2. The Subheading

When including a site subheading, think of your platform. In your subheading add keywords you want associated with your site. These are words that should quickly inform the search engines what your site is about and allow them to use your site’s URL to meet a searcher’s query.

The subheading elaborates on your website title and further emphases your site’s focus.

3. The Opt-in Box

Provide a readily visible opt-in box. This is one of the only ways you will be able to create a mailing list. A useful way to entice visitors to sign up for your info emails or newsletter is to offer a free gift, also called and ‘ethical bribe.’ Usually an ebook related to your site’s focus is a practical gift.

The opt-in box should be placed in the top portion of your sidebar, and must be immediately visible upon landing on the page – this means it needs to be above the fold line.

Think copywriting when creating the text for your opt-in. Marketing studies have shown that words like “sign-up” and “join” may make the reader feel there is a commitment involved. The current, more appealing opt-in words include “access” and “find out more.” I’m thinking of testing “give it a try.”

Stop by November 17th for Part 2 of Online Marketing – 7 Key Factors to an Effective Website. It explains key factors numbers four through seven.

For more on writing and marketing, join Karen Cioffi and The Writing World for free weekly tips and guidance, plus updates on free instructional webinars. Get access today and you’ll receive “How to Create an Optimized Website – 3 Essential Author Website Elements and 9 Must-Have Pages:”


  1. Great post, Karen. I have an opt-in box, but I've been told it's hard to work. I have a blogger site. I agree that mail list is a big marketing tool.

  2. Hi, Janet, I don't understand how an opt-in would be hard to work. Most services simply provide a box for a name and email address. Have you tried it yourself?

    1. I don't understand either, but I've had people tell me they couldn't get it right. Guess I should tray. Thanks, Karen. Duh!

  3. You always have such great ideas, Karen. You've given me something to think about. :)

  4. Beverly, glad I got you 'a thinkin.' LOL

  5. Thank you for the helpful information, Karen.

  6. Dear Karen,
    Great advice. Thank you for sharing your expertise with us.

  7. Connie, glad you found the post helpful!